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Screen Reading and Library Resources: A Guide for ADA Accessibility: Full list of Accessible Library Databases

Regarding Library Resources and Screen Readers

This page contains a full list of databases that are compliant with either Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, or W3C WAI WCAG 2.0 Level A.

Some databases offer a simple statement of compliance. However, others provide additional instructions as to how one may maximize use of their databases in screen-reader mode.  Where appropriate, those instructions are replicated here.

As a result of the fact that special instructions will relate to vendor-specific interfaces, databases are organized first by vendor and then alphabetically.

The subtab under this page lists just the databases from our major vendors, such as Ebsco, Gale, and Proquest.

ACM Digital Library

Instructions for screen reader users:

Before entering the database it is necessary to accept the terms and conditions. JAWS does read these automatically. Once heard you can press tab to highlight ‘I accept the above terms’ then enter. The default is to search The ACM Digital Library rather than The Guide,  which is correct, but the search box on the homepage is labelled as The Guide Edit. If your links list your search results, the article title appears first, followed by the full text in PDF and sometimes HTML format.

View the HTML version if available as the PDF files are often without headings and therefore hard to navigate. Before you can download any full text item you will need to disable your pop up blocker as full text opens in a new window.  Use Adobe Reader to convert the PDF, although it still may not read in a linear way. Articles can also be converted to a more accessible format using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) equipment.

American Chemical Society Web Editions

CQ Press


Ebsco Databases

Built in ADA Accessibility Features in Databases

All of the EBSCO vendor databases (see list below) have a read aloud feature for HTML articles that may be manually activated.

  • choose the HTML Full Text option, the Listen icon appears on the Tools list just under the title of the article
  • you may select three different accents and reading speeds
  • to pause the reading, click on the pause button
  • For more information on searching EBSCO databases with JAWS 8.0, visit:

We will continue to add information to this page. If you have accessibility problems with any online resources please let us know by contacting the Library.

The instructions mainly relate to screen readers with some information for keyboard only users.  Resources were tested using Firefox but hopefully they will be useful for other screen readers and browsers.

Screen Reader Instructions for EBSCO Databases

Instructions for screen reader and keyboard users:

Access the database, enter your search terms and press Enter to conduct the search. The resulting references are listed so that the Add to folder option appears after the title of the article it relates to.

Full text is provided in HTML or PDF or in some cases both formats. Use the HTML version when available. If only a PDF is provided and you are using JAWS, use Adobe Reader 7.0 to convert the article, but it will not always read in a linear fashion.  If full text is not provided you can check if the Full Text Finder service has access to it via another supplier.  Add the references you are interested in to a folder and opt to list them, then if you use links list in JAWS, the email, print and save to disk options are towards the bottom of the list. To carry out another search choose the Advanced Search link.

For keyboard users there are problems navigating an individual record using Internet Explorer, making it difficult to return to your results.  You are advised to use the links to full text etc provided in the results list or use Firefox instead.


List of EBSCO databases with the Read Aloud Feature

Emerald Insight

Instructions for screen reader users:

There are a couple of search boxes on the home page of Emerald Fulltext.  If you list the Form Fields choose the second Search: Edit rather than the one at the beginning of the list.  If you do this you can choose whether to search within All content, journals or books.  

Results are listed in the order of article title (as a link), journal title, issue number, HTML and PDF full text (where available).  The HTML full text includes level headings to aid navigation.

Britannica Online

Gale Databases

Gale Databases provide a Listen function for full-text articles. This can be found on the detailed display screen, which can be accessed by clicking on the title of the article from the search results.  Articles that are not in full-text do not have this option. 

Further detail can be found at:



Instructions for screen reader users:

Search results appear in the order:

  • Check Box
  • Reference Number
  • Article Title (which is a link)
  • Author
  • Eeference Details
  • Article Information
  • Page of First Match
  • PDF 

To access the full text of articles either choose PDF from the results list, or click on the article title and then choose PDF.  If a PDF is not sufficiently tagged, JSTOR can manually tag PDFs. For more information see the JSTOR accessibility pages.

National Center for Biotechnology

Instructions for screen reader users:

Pubmed has recently been amended so that article titles now appear as links to further information, rather than the authors, so the database is easier to navigate.

NPG (Nature Publishing Group)

Oxford University Press

Instructions for screen reader users:
If you come across any links called OPENURL, these allow you to check if a item is available in full text from the Open University Library.  We have been unable to change the link to say something more meaningful.


Sawyer Library subscribes to the journal, Neurology on the Ovid platform.

Instructions for screen reader users:

Results are listed in the order check box, reference number,  reference title, authors, source title, View Abstract, Find Similar, Abstract, Complete Reference and Checks if OU offers full Text (availability of electronic full text).  The reference title is not presented as a link.  To read the abstract select the View Abstract button, which displays the abstract on the same page.  If you select the Abstract or Complete Reference link your screen reader may not recognise that you have moved to a new page.  To quickly get to your list of results move to the How Relevancy is Calculated link and read from there.  To read the next page of results select the Next page button in Forms Mode 

Project MUSE Premium Collection

Instructions for screen reader users:

To search from initial page list the links and select Search.  Search results are displayed in the order of check box, result number, reference details and then View HTML and View PDF to read the full text.  Select View HTML, which includes heading levels to aid navigation.

Proquest Databases

Instructions for screen reader users:

If you are using Internet Explorer and want to specify date ranges in Advanced Search use ALT + DOWN ARROW to open the Date Range combo box and use the up and down arrows to move through the options.  Press enter to choose the appropriate date range, which may then open another box for you to enter the date details.  If you don't access the combo box this way JAWS is confused when the additional date range boxes are automatically generated as you move through the options and stops reading.  This does not happen with Firefox.  Choose Full Text, rather than Full Text - PDF, where available.  Once you are in Full Text, select level heading 2, to move straight to the full text.

Roper Center

The Roper Center has a text-only link at the bottom of its homepage. This only works from on campus, because our proxy URL blocks it.

The text-only version of the Roper Center's database is available at the following URL

Sage Journals Online

Sage Journals Online provides the following additional instructions regarding screen readers:

Instructions for screen reader users:

To access the Quick Search box, list Form Fields and select "for more information Edit".  You can tab to the "SAGE Content Available to me" radio button to narrow your search to full text content.  However, please note that whilst only those journals subscribed to will be searched, access to the backfile of a journal (often before 1999) may not be available, but articles from those years are still included in search results.  References are listed in the order article title, reference details, short summary, check box, then links to Abstract, Full text (PDF), References, Table of Contents and Matchmaker (finds similar articles).  All full text is in pdf format, which is not tagged and needs to be converted using Adobe Reader. 

Article titles are not linked, so the two following methods may help you access results more easily.  If you list the Form Fields on the page you will be able to hear the article titles as they have been attached to the relevant check box.  Press Enter to check the box and move to that article title on the page.  Select the plus key on the number keypad to change to virtual pc cursor mode.  Choose to read the page and you will hear the article title, check box and links to Abstract, Full Text  (PDF) etc.  Alternatively check the boxes for the articles you are interested in, list Form Fields and choose first, "Add to My Marked Citations" then "View/Edit My Marked Citations" and press Enter.  Your selected citations will display on one page and the article titles are listed as Heading Level 3.  Choose the article you are interested in and you will hear the article title, reference details, links to Abstract, Full Text (PDF) and References, followed by the abstract.  

If you browse to a journal issue, the articles are in the format: check box, author name, article title, journal title and links to Abstract, PDF and References.  You can listen to the article titles by listing the Form Fields on the page, as they have been attached to the relevant check box.  As mentioned in the previous paragraph move to the article title and change to virtual pc cursor to access the relevant PDF link. 

SciVerse (Elsevier)

Instructions for screen reader users:

Rather than using the Quick search option on the ScienceDirect home page, go to the search page so you can narrow your search more easily. To access this page list the links on the page and choose Search, which appears between Browse and Abstract Databases.

There are 6 search forms on the search page and you need to use the Journals Search Form to obtain articles. The database may default to search using this form, if it doesn't you can access it by the listing the links on the page. If you are already in the Journals Search Form it will not appear on the list of links.

Once you have carried out a search the article titles are listed as links on the results page. The Summary Plus, Full Text and Links and PDF options are available after the information about the article. Check boxes are provided before the article reference details.

Use the Full Text and Links option to read the article full text. The PDF is untagged and needs to be converted using Adobe Reader.


Instructions for screen reader users:

Search results are listed in order of relevance rather than date.  If you list the links on the page you will hear In the last week, In the last two weeks etc.  These will take you to the references added within these time periods and after each link there will be a number telling you how many references are available.  The article title provides a link to the abstract and full text options, which is usually PDF only.  If you list the links on the page the PDF link reads as Entire Document and HTML, if available as Open Full Text.  The PDF is untagged and needs to be converted using Adobe Reader.  Sometimes when HTML full text appears to be available only a link to the abstract is provided.  We are querying this with the supplier

Web of Knowledge

Instructions for screen reader users:

The default is to search all Web of Knowledge databases.  To just search Web of Science choose the Select a Database link and then the Web of Science link.  You will search all citation indexes unless you deselect any, by going to the [Change limits and settings] link.  Results are displayed in the order check box, reference number, title (as a link) and further reference details.  To check a box, list the links on the page, move to an article title (move to link) and then select shift plus X to move to the check box for that article. 

Wiley Online Library

Instructions for screen reader:

Before using Wiley screen reader, users need to ensure they have done the following to be able to read the full text.  In Adobe Reader 8, open the Document menu and select Accessibility Setup Assistant.  Click on Next until the fifth screen and ensure that the last option "Display PDF documents in the web browser" is not checked. 

Access the basic search box on the home page by listing the Form Fields on the page and then "Enter words or phrases edit".  A link to Advanced Search enables you to narrow a search by product type (journal or book).  You can also browse by subject or product type.  Search results are displayed in the format article title, journal title, reference details, author name then links to Abstract, References and PDF (full text).  The article title is not provided as a link and not all articles are available in full text.  Full text is not provided on Wiley if you are taken to a page with the heading Access article, Options for accessing this content.  If you have conducted a search you can read the article or chapter titles by listing the Form Fields on the page.  If you browse you will not have this option and will need to read the page linearly.

If you right click on a PDF link and Save target as, it will be saved as HTML, but open in Adobe Reader.